A vast spectrum of brick-and-mortar locations has seen their doors shutter in the past year. Galleries, performance spaces, stores—few have been spared from financial difficulties, and it has resulted in a large number of permanent closures. And especially given that it is no small feat, it comes as some surprise that a new Olympia Theatre has just been announced as in the works for London.
With a projected opening date of 2025, the new Olympia Theatre is a massive addition to the U.K. theatre scene. For starters, it will be the largest theatre constructed in London since the National Theatre first opened in the 1970s. The announcement of the theatre comes as part of the £1.3 billion development plan for rejuvenating the Olympia area as a world-class cultural district, a project helmed by design and architecture group Heatherwick Studios.
The interior of the theatre will be designed by famed architectural studio Haworth Tompkins, known for their innovative work on artistic spaces and theatres. The company states: “The proposals include extensive foyer spaces spread across 7-floor levels, bars and back-of-house areas housed within the Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC designed multi-level building.” It is certain to be a grand design fitting of the Olympia rejuvenation.
Owning and operating the new Olympia Theatre will be Trafalgar Entertainment. Already running Trafalgar Theatre in London, Australia’s Theatre Royal Sydney, as well as the properties of HQ Theatres across the U.K., Trafalgar are clearly keen on maintaining and improving the state of theatres on an internationally relevant scale.
There is always a question about the importance of major regional theatres and the grand spaces that they are. The cost of maintaining them is an ongoing concern for many, let alone in a time where the world is just starting to see light at the end of the tunnel from the global pandemic. But with luck and leadership, the new Olympia Theatre is certain to become a vibrant new fixture in the bright constellation of the London theatre scene.